Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 9, 2017
Guest: Ted Lieu, James Fallows, Dexter Filkins, Jason Johnson, Dave Zirin, Natasha Bertrand
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN) CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: After a race is over, people realize they never really knew the person.
HAYES: A Republican Senator rings a nuclear alarm over Donald Trump.
CORKER: He doesn`t realize that you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kind of comments that he`s making.
HAYES: Tonight Senator Corker`s stark warning over President Trump. His claim that nearly all of his Republican colleagues agree, and why what happens next is so important.
Then the President deploys the rubber glue response on the moron report.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the greatest of all terms I`ve come up with is fake.
HAYES: What we`re learning about just how staged the Vice President`s NFL walkout was.
TRUMP: You could say yes. That`s OK. You can say yes. I mean, that`s fine.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Republicans in Washington have reportedly been whispering about it for months in private conversations, but now the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker has finally come out and said it. The President of the United States, Leader of Corker`s own party, is a danger to this country. In an interview, Corker told the New York Times the President`s behavior could get us into World War III.
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CORKER: Sometimes I feel like he`s on a reality show of some kind, you know when he`s talking about big foreign policy issues. And, you know, he doesn`t realize that you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kind of comments that he is making.
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HAYES: The risk is so severe, according to Corker, that senior advisers have to try and protect the President from himself. Corker telling the Times I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it`s a situation of trying to contain him. Most significantly, Corker says he`s far from the only Republican Lawmaker to question the President`s fitness for office. "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we`re dealing with here." Those astonishing comments from a Senior Republican Lawmaker followed a heated exchange on Twitter yesterday between the President and Senator Corker who just announced he`s retiring at the end of his current term.
The President tweeted, "Senator Bob Corker begged me to endorse him for reelection in Tennessee. I said no and he dropped out, said he could not win without my endorsement. He also wanted to be Secretary of State. I said no thanks. He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran deal." There`s a lot that is inaccurate in those two tweets but we`ll start with the fact that according to Corker, at least, the President urged him to run again and promised to endorse him if he did. The Senator shot back it`s a shame the White House has become an adult day-care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning. This was not the first time Corker expressed grave concerns about the President`s conduct. Last week, he defended embattle Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and earlier had criticized the President`s response to Charlottesville.
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CORKER: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos. The President has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
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HAYES: Long before that, however, Corker was one of the President`s key validators among mainstream Republicans. On the short list for Vice President, auditioning alongside Trump on the campaign trail. After the election, he interviewed for the job as Secretary Of State. When that didn`t pan out, he went on to vote for every single one of the President`s cabinet nominees, including ones like Tom Price who have since resigned, plus almost every effort in the Senate to repeal and replace ObamaCare. In what must be a relief to Corker`s colleagues, the Senate is not in session this week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at an event in his home state of Kentucky defended Corker as a valued member of the caucus.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway was less enthused scolding Corker without the slightest hint of irony for what she said was an incredibly irresponsible tweet. Now, according to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, Corker`s comments are representative of his Republican peers but not because they don`t agree, no. In one of the ultimate examples of saying the quiet part loud, Meadows told the Associated Press, and I`m quoting him directly, "it`s easy to be bold when you`re not coming back." For more on the fallout, let`s bring in MSNBC Political Analyst Robert Costa, National Political Report for the Washington Post. Robert, you got a new piece out for the Washington Post that takes a look at how this sort of feud is ricocheting through White House. What have you found?
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The President`s fuming inside of the west wing, I`m told, along with my colleagues Ashley Parker and Phil Rucker, angry about the race in Alabama last month, unhappy about the stalled agenda on Capitol Hill. And of course, with Senator Corker`s comments, he`s telling his aides that he wants to get out there and rally his base. He wanted to do a rally in North Carolina over the weekend. That was not planned. He just did a fundraiser. So we see a President under the guidance of General Kelly trying to break out.
HAYES: You know, so there is increasingly this conception that is -- seems to be shared by people in the White House, outside the White House, and Corker is just stating it explicitly, that there are people in the administration whose job it is to essentially restrain the President and sort of protect the country from him. What does the President think about that idea?
COSTA: The President goes right around that kind of system. It is true based on all of our reporting that the President is -- has the door closed to the Oval Office, that General Kelly is controlling the paper flow. But that does not mean at night when he up in the residence that he`s not making a round of calls. And we`re reporting tonight that he continues to talk to long-time friends like Tom Barrett and the business community seeking their counsel, not as his official aides as he tries to navigate this thorny political environment.
HAYES: You`ve also talked about the possibility, there`s been speculation obviously Tillerson and the President seem to be in some kind of cold war. There has been I would say rising chatter about Kelly being unhappy. What are you heard then?
COSTA: The President`s reluctant to make a change right now because he has a General, a respected one at his side, and he made comments over the weekend saying he expects Kelly to stay for a long time. But that doesn`t mean behind the scenes he is not frustrated. He has made it very clear to some of his closest confidantes that he wish he could continue to have the rapport with many more aides than he does now, that he could have different kinds of people wandering into the Oval Office. He likes to bounce ideas off people. He can`t do that anymore.
HAYES: You have a lot of sources on Capitol Hill, and you`ve been - you`ve been covering politics there for a while. What do you think of Corker`s contention that with the exception of a few members of the caucus, everyone agrees with him?
COSTA: It`s a little bit of a stretch because a lot of Senators I`ve spoken with, they believe that the President`s behavior at times is erratic, but they`re not ready to walk away from him because they do want to run in 2018 on some kind of tax cut, on some kind of Trump-based plan when it comes to legislation. They know that they can`t have a full break. So you didn`t see many people echoing Senator Corker today. There are of course private conversations I`ve had and other reporters have had that reflect Senator Corker`s position. I`ve heard it from some and off the record in background basis. But there is not a chorus behind Corker at the moment.
HAYES: All right, Robert Costa, thank you for reporting.
COSTA: Thank you.
HAYES: Congressman Ted Lieu is a Democrat from California, one of the President`s most vocal critics on Capitol Hill. And Congressman, what should Bob Corker do if he believes what he says he believes about the President`s fitness?
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris, for your question. He should be doing what he`s doing now, which is speaking up against the President. Let me say that when the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee says that he is worried the President could start World War III, Americans need to listen. Donald Trump`s reckless threats against North Korea are dangerous. Estimates of any war with North Korea could range to 2.1 million dead, 7.7 million people injured. And I call on all Republicans in Congress to speak up like Senator Corker, otherwise, they`re enabling Trump`s dangerous behavior.
HAYES: You know, you cite the World War III part of the quote, and that was the one that I caught my attention the most. And part of the problem is it seems hyperbolic or so remote or such an inconceivable tale risk but it didn`t seem like Corker was joking when he said that.
LIEU: Senator Corker is not someone that engages in hyperbole. Throughout his career, even though I disagreed with him on many issue, he is not someone that flame throws. So when he uses that term, it should catch Americans` energy and eyes and we need to put a stop to this erratic behavior of the President.
HAYES: But concretely, what do you mean by that? I mean, the members -- look, Article One branch of the U.S. Constitution has tremendous powers. It has declined over time, as we have seen the ascendancy of this all- powerful executive in many ways, but what do you mean by that concretely? What should Republicans in the Senate who agree with Bob Corker be doing?
LIEU: Well, I would love if they would support H.R.669 which is legislation I`ve introduced with Senator Ed Markey that prevents the President from launching a nuclear first strike without Congressional approval because that would be war. And only Congress can declare war. And I think Congress needs to step in and say, Mr. President, you cannot start a war with North Korea without first coming to Congress.
HAYES: You know, Corker is speaking out today there have been others in the past who have spoken out, like Lindsey Graham. And this is -- this is him almost exactly a year ago. "Name one sports team university, publicly held company, et cetera, that would accept a person like this as their standard bearer." Talking about the now President of the United States, just I believe a day after the Access Hollywood tape. Today, "how bad did he beat me?" They golf together. "I did better in the Presidential race today than today on the golf course. Great fun, great host." It seems like there is this kind of memento sort of permanent amnesia that members have where they can find the President completely unfit one moment and then turn around and be golfing with him the next.
LIEU: Look, what Senator Corker said today I think is what the overwhelming majority of members of Congress believe. I`m not quite sure why Lindsey Graham would say what he did because previously he said some very similar things that Senator Corker said about Donald Trump. But I can tell you about my conversations with various Republicans on the House floor about the President, they range from dislike to deep concern about his erratic behavior. And I think Senator Corker is simply articulating in public what many in Congress already believe.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu, thanks for your time tonight.
LIEU: Thank you.
HAYES: I`m joined now by James Fallows, National Correspondent for the Atlantic, author of the new piece It`s What Bob Corker Does Next That Counts. And Evan McMullin, who left the Republican Party to run for President as an Independent in 2016. James, let me start with you. What do you mean by it`s what Corker does next that counts?
JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: I mean, it`s a significant step, as Congressman Lieu was saying and Robert Costa, that you have somebody saying in public what many, many Republicans have been saying in private for quite a while, which is there is something abnormal about this President. He doesn`t have the knowledge, he doesn`t have the temperament, he doesn`t have sort of the approach to world affairs that we want to see in somebody who`s the Commander in Chief. So it`s significant that he did that. But as you mentioned, the comparison with Lindsey Graham, we`ve heard things like this for a long time. It was only a year and a half ago that Ted Cruz was blasting candidate Trump as a pathological liar.
So the next step is whether the Republicans who actually have the monopoly on hearings and all the rest through controls of both Houses, whether they will do something, whether it`s passing legislation, putting -- setting limits on military action, whether it`s having hearings, whether it`s bringing witnesses. So the saying is a good thing. The doing is what we would like to see next.
HAYES: Evan, you`ve obviously been sort of talking about this for a while. It`s what prompt you to run for -- as an Independent, sort of leave the Republican Party. You worked on the Hill. You`re a Hill staff for a while. Do you think Corker is accurate when he says this is a widely shared view in the caucus?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it is accurate what he says. But I do believe it`s also a bit of a stretch. I think there are plenty Republican members of Congress who actually are not quite so opposed to Donald Trump`s erratic behavior. They`re amused by it some of them. They think it`s odd. They think it may have value. They certainly agree with some of his other sort of protect the culture type of nationalist, nativist ideology. So yes, I do believe there are some, especially in the Senate but I think it may be a bit of a stretch, unfortunately.
HAYES: There is this moment today, and James, you`ve been writing about, again, there is this sort of -- there`s two things competing here. There is a sort of permanent amnesia that constantly happens with him where there are moments like after Charlottesville where people throw up their hands or a year ago after Access Hollywood and you think oh my goodness, this person is totally unfit, and then it goes away and people are sort of integrate it into their understanding of him. And then there`s a sort of desire to sort of remind yourself of how bizarre and aberrant so much of this is. You worked in the White House, the White House today released cabinet members` praise for the President`s immigration policy. They`ve done this a few times. It is a truly bizarre document in which people that work for the President are on the record praising his ideas.
FALLOWS: It is. It is. As you say, it`s bizarre and we have to remind ourselves several times a day that is not how things normally happen. It is inconceivable that a Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would be having this kind of discourse or criticism against a President of his own party. I mentioned in my piece that 50 plus years ago, J. William Fulbright who was on the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee launched a very serious critique of his party`s president Lyndon Johnson`s catastrophic policies in Vietnam. But that was done with great deliberation and it wasn`t there wasn`t something wrong with Johnson that he was unfit, that he was temperamentally erratic, it was that the policy was an error. So every day, there`s something we haven`t seen before.
HAYES: Mark Meadows` comment, Evan, was sort of amazing to me. I mean, Meadows is basically saying -- he doesn`t saying -- I mean, if you disagree with Bob Corker, you would say something to the following. That`s outages. What a slanderous thing to say about the President of the United States, who is obviously a judicious and competent Chief Executive of this nation. No instead he said well, you`re just saying that because you don`t have to run again which seems like a giant self-own.
MCMULLIN: Well, that`s exactly right. But the strange thing, Chris is that if you spend any time on the Hill in some of the positions I was in, you hear members say that all the time to each other and to others. Well, see, I can`t do this or I can`t do that because that would cost me reelection, even if it`s the right thing to do. In this case, opposing Donald Trump, I think they`ve known in their heart of heart, many of them, that it was the right thing to do, that they needed to do it for the good of the country. But the reality is they prioritize keeping their seats more than they do the interests of the country, I`m sad to say that. And what`s worse than, they actually think that`s OK. They`ve told themselves that for so long. And it`s gotten them off the hook for so many things for so long that they feel like that`s an acceptable way to think.
And it absolutely is not. In fact, it`s brought us to a point where we have Senator Corker, of course, the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, saying that the President is bringing us to the precipice of a global war. So the thing is that Donald Trump sort of hinted and threatened sort of nuclear activity during the campaign. We`ve known that this was the reality of Donald Trump for a long time. Corker participated in normalizing that, in attacking people like me and others who wouldn`t fall in line. I`m glad he`s doing what he`s doing now. He is doing the right thing. He`s speaking truth. I support and embrace that. But the reality is we need leaders that have more courage and are willing to do the right thing for the country even when it`s hard.
HAYES: And to that point, James, what do you make of this bizarre sort of caretaker guardship that has grown up that is now sort of widely understood (INAUDIBLE) of government that there are these people there whose job is to protect the country from the President?
FALLOWS: So, minute by minute or day by day, obviously you would prefer to have somebody with the judgment of former General Mattis, retired General Mattis or current General McMaster who have you know, experience there to exercise a sort of disciplining hand. But that is not a good way for democracies to run the long run.
FALLOWS: One other point, if I could, I think it`s interesting there`s sort of a triple game of political calculation going on here. One is the immediate thing that Representative Meadows said, oh, you can`t say this. You`re only saying this because you`re not running anymore. There`s a second calculation of things are going to shift, if the iceberg breaks off, getting ahead of that curve. And then there`s third, there`s a calculation of how is this going to look 20 years from now, 50 years from now, 100 years from now what people are accommodating.
HAYES: Right. Well, and you know what? That question gets asked and answered last as we (INAUDIBLE). James Fallows and Evan McMullin, thank you, both.
FALLOWS: Thank you.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
HAYES: Tonight, how many people fell for the Vice President`s football stunt? Ahead, the cost, the fail, and how the White House showed their hand. And the President apparently still fuming over being called a moron by his Secretary of State. It turns out Rex Tillerson has a bit of an enemies list too. That story in two minutes.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any response to Rex Tillerson`s comments last week?
TRUMP: Yes, I`m very honored by his comments. It was fake news. It was totally phony story. Thank you very much. It was made up. It was made up by NBC. They just made it up.
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HAYES: Well, the President is still annoyed by the NBC report last week since corroborated by numerous other outlets that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had openly disparaged the President, referring to him as a moron after a July 20th meeting at the Pentagon. According to new report by the Daily Beast, the President has in recent days insisted NBC is, "run by morons." As for Tillerson himself, a well-timed and revealing profiler in New Yorker describes the Secretary of State at the breaking point. For example, here`s how Tillerson, the country`s top diplomat talked about improving relations with Iran, one of his first meetings. Maybe we don`t have it in our capacity to change the nature of this relationship because we are bound by it. Maybe we leave it to the next generation to try.
He thought for a moment. I don`t know, I`m not a diplomat. The author of that profile, Dexter Filkins, joins me now. It`s a really fascinating piece. That moment which I don`t think have been reported anywhere else is that this is sort of his diplomatic debut where he comes into a room and basically gets into kind of a dorm room style fight over U.S.-Iran. I mean, I don`t mean dorm room in the sense of amateurish. I mean, like, the kind of thing you talk about when you`re fighting it out as opposed to like a kind of diplomatic protocol.
DEXTER FILKINS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, I mean, I think they believe that the last day here is under Obama, the Iranians been getting a free ride.
FILKINS: And so, we`re going to come in and we`re going to hammer them.
HAYES: You portray someone who is obviously was very effective in his business life but is kind of without allies in this very strange kind of floating space as the Secretary of State of the United States.
FELKINS: Yes. I mean, I think the ally that he really lacks is, it seems, is the President himself. So you know, we`re in this incredibly dangerous confrontation with North Korea, and the Secretary of State, he is out in China, he is trying to stave off a war.
HAYES: He is trying to be Secretary of State basically. He is doing what you would want the Secretary --
FILKINS: Yes, and you know, both Iran and North Korea, these are really dangerous situations. And he goes to China, and he`s trying to -- he`s trying to basically prevent a war from happening and the President humiliates him. And so I think that`s got to be frustrating for him.
HAYES: There`s a great moment in here, and I thought about it because a colleague of yours in the New Yorker who did incredible reporting on this very topic wherein one of their first readings, the President rails to Tillerson about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) comes in. It`s like their first time really. February, a few weeks after Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate, he visited the Oval Office to introduce the President to a potential deputy. Trump had something else on his mind. He began fulminating about federal laws that prohibit American businesses from bribing officials overseas, the businesses he said were being unfairly penalized. Tillerson disagreed.
FILKINS: Well, I mean, Tillerson`s story is like amazing. So he said Mr. President, I disagree, and he said you know when I was in Yemen several years ago for Exxon, and we were doing a big oil deal, the Yemeni oil minister walked up to me and handed me his business card. I flipped it over, and it was a Swiss bank account number and he said $5 million. He said Mr. President, we said no, we don`t do that, and we`re going to get on a plane. We`re going to go home. And if that`s you know, if that`s how you do business, we`re going to do it. And he said, the Yemenis called us back a month later and said OK, OK, let`s do the deal.
HAYES: Do you think that he -- I mean, I guess the question is, can he do the things that he needs to do necessarily in these very delicate diplomatic standoffs if everyone knows that the President -- he is not speaking for President?
FILKINS: It`s a really good question. I -- there was somebody in my piece who said to me that the South Korean Foreign Ministry had essentially told them we don`t call the American Embassy anymore. You know, there`s no -- in Seoul, South Korea, there is no Ambassador there. You know, we just read the President`s Twitter feeds but I think that`s what --
HAYES: That seems really dangerous to me.
FILKINS: It`s super dangerous. I mean, look --
HAYES: Because you want to have some -- I mean, it`s just important it seems that you have channels of communication that are -- you know, that are based on sort of relationship building and mutual consideration.
FILKINS: Yes. Well, I think there`s something else which is I think also very troubling, which is the Tillerson`s orders, his marching orders from the president, from the White House are cut the budget of the State Department by 30 percent. And that`s -- that means you`re -- I mean, the State Department is mostly people. It`s diplomats abroad. And that means -- that means cutting people. And at the very same time, they`re doing that, they`re increasing the budget of the Pentagon. And so it`s sort of your carrot is getting smaller and your stick is getting really -- it`s getting much bigger. And so, you know, when you -- when you have get -- when you have a problem and all you have is a stick. And I -- and I think that`s what people are worried about.
HAYES: And then accelerates. I mean, this is something you`ve reported on. You`ve been on the ground in Iraq and all over the world but it accelerates a kind of militarization of American foreign policy that`s been happening for a while now.
FILKINS: Yes, and again, it kind of goes back to -- it goes back to what`s happening in North Korea. I mean, it`s a really dangerous situation. I mean, you have essentially the North Koreans have said we are absolutely determined to get an ICBM with a -- with a Nuclear Bomb on it. And the Trump administration said we will not under any circumstances permit that.
HAYES: Tolerate that. Yes.
FILKINS: And that means -- you know, that means war unless you make a deal.
HAYES: Right, unless there`s someone in conversation to get an off ramp. Dexter Filkins, great piece in the New Yorker, check it out. Thank you for joining us.
FILKINS: Thank you. Thank you very much.
HAYES: Coming up, the White House has continued problems with inappropriate plane travel. How much did it cost for the President -- for the Vice President to fly across the country for a stunt intended to further divide the country? And was this video blogger paid by Russia to make anti-Clinton videos during the campaign? That unbelievable story ahead.
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TRUMP: We did a great job, and we weren`t treated fairly by the media because we really did a good job. I mean, one example, they had these beautiful soft towels, very good towels. And I came in, and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything. And we were -- I was having fun. They were having fun. They said throw one to me, throw them to me, Mr. President. And so I`m doing some. So the next day they said oh, it was so disrespectful to the people. It was just a made-up thing. And also, when they had -- when I walked in, the cheering was incredible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were a rock star. I saw the video of it.
TRUMP: It was crazy. It was crazy. The cheering was -- it was deafening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Deafening. It`s been nearly three weeks since Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico. And the President`s obsession from the start has been focused on himself. The reviews and the coverage of his disaster response rather than the problems of the people of Puerto Rico. Here he was again on Sunday tweeting, "Nobody could have done what I`ve done for Puerto Rico with so little appreciation. So much work." But the facts on the ground remain these. 85 percent of the three million American citizens of Puerto Rico do not have power and 40 percent do not have clean drinking water.
The storm hit almost three weeks ago, and there are hundreds of thousands of people in America in the richest country in the world who do not have clean drinking water 19 days later. Yesterday people from 30 miles, just 30 miles from San Juan lined up on the side of the road to fetch water from a stream using a PVC pipe. NBC`s Mariana Atencio reported thousands lined up since at midnight on Saturday to get bags of ice in the morning while Americans in rural towns like (INAUDIBLE) in central Puerto Rico plead for supplies.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the bottom of my heart, please help us because we`re dying here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a war zone. They need help here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen any sign of supplies coming this way, medicine?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None, zero, nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There are lots of Americans suffering in Puerto Rico. And when it comes to response, there is no a for effort. If the President is so obsessed with how people review his performance, his best bet is to actually deliver on their needs.
HAYES: Add Google to the growing list of technology companies whose platforms were used by Russian operatives to interfere with the presidential election.
The Washington Post reporting today that, quote, "tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google`s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associate of Google search, Gmail and the company`s double click ad network.
The paper went on to note that, quote, "the discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin- affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook, a sign of the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be much broader than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far."
The Post adding that Google had initially downplayed the idea that Russian operatives used the company`s platforms to intervene in the election. And if all of this sounds familiar, it should be, much of this resembles what we know about ads placed on Facebook by Russian operatives as well.
In both cases, Russian agents spent tens of thousands of dollars. And both companies were initially reluctant to admit they had been used. But only now, nearly one year after the election, are we perhaps beginning to understand the scope of the Russian operation?
To help with these revelations and perspective, I`m joined by Natasha Bertrand, political correspondent at Business Insider where she has been covering this story closely.
So, I guess -- so what I find fascinating about this is like someone is doing this, right, from the Russian side. They`re doing it on Facebook. They`re doing it on Twitter. And now they`re doing it on Google for not that much money, like $100,000 here or there, right?
And my question is, like, well, is this the sum total of it or is there a lot more that we`re going to learn about?
NATASHA BERTRAND, BUSINESS INSIDER: No. I mean, like you said, it`s a year after the election, and we`re just now starting to find out little by little, drip by drip what the Russians actually did during the 2016 election in terms of manipulating the social media platforms that we use, in terms of manipulating Google News, Gmail, YouTube in order to meddle in the election.
And just in the past month alone, we`ve learned that they managed to organize protests in the U.S. using Facebook groups and Facebook events. We`ve learn that they`ve managed to use YouTube to recruit, you know, people to spew Russian propaganda on their behalf. So this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
HAYES: All right.
So, I think it`s always important here to separate intent and effect. So what we`re learning a lot about is the intent, which is that they were just throwing lots of stuff up against the wall. Now, in terms of the effect, like, some of the protests had four or five people. So there is this creepiness aspect like you just noted the YouTube people, the YouTube stars who were recruited. This site was taken down because it violated terms of service. It appears to have been backed by Russian propaganda.
I want the play just one of the videos. I think these gentlemen are from Nigeria. They were posting during the campaign. Take a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. It`s your boy, Kevin.
Today`s interview one of the worst election in America. And we have one of the worst candidates, and the candidate is Hillary Clinton. Most of the black people in America think that Hillary is the one that is going to protect them and Hillary is the one who is going to fight for them. For hell no. Hillary Clinton is one of the deftest liars. All she wants is power. All she wants is to rule over America. She doesn`t care about anyone. Hillary is being funded by the Muslims. And she is going to stand for the Muslim. Hillary Clinton is not our candidate. So if you vote for her, you take responsibility for all her crimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. Now this is laughably terrible. A lot of the stuff that was being turned out was in that category. You had this crazy spectrum, right? They`re doing like all these different things. But there is a spectrum of confidence from that video up to successfully hacking the DNC and John Podesta`s email.
BERTRAND: Right. And that`s exactly how a lot of the content that the Russians posted on Facebook, for example, was extremely really well written English. And a lot of it was riddled with typos. There was really a lot of discrepancies in how well they actually spoke English and were able to do this.
But I think that, yeah, the Russians were sloppy. They were really just throwing everything against the wall and seeing what would stick. And, you know, a lot of Russia experts that I have spoken to have said this may have been on purpose. They may have left fingerprints and they may have made it very obvious just to show look we can do this. We`re here and we`re not going to stop.
HAYES: I sometimes feel think it`s like the old tale of the blind men with the elephant. Where they`re like -- like whatever this thing was in the middle, this effort, had these different aspects to it, some of which I think were really effective, like the hacks and WikiLeaks, some of it which is hard to think affected the election. But you just wonder in your head like what is the chart, the org chart look like on the other side of this thing being ordered.
BERTRAND: I mean, I think, again, I think that they were just seeing what they could do. And I think that, you know, when congressmen are telling us that they have evidence that they`re going to be back in the next elections, I think that they really understand that this was trial run, essentially.
They never -- the Russians never actually thought they would get Donald Trump elected. They thought that this was all a way to undermine the legitimacy of the election. And if they were just going to throw as much as they could against the wall, whether it be divisive political ads, racially charged things, just basically getting people to get riled up and just to foment dissent across the country, then that was a win in and of itself.
HAYES: Right. Natasha Bertrand, thanks for joining me.
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, the paid protester that flew across the country in order to pull off the most transparent stunt ever. The many fails of Vice President Pence ahead.
Plus, a presidential fail in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, President Trump is still at it. He still does not seem to have any big basic grasp of health care or health care policy.
You may recall that early in his administration, the president infamously discovered that health care is complicated.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: We`re going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Now, I have to tell you, it`s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nobody knew! And now, in a hard-hitting interview with Mike Huckabee, the father of his press secretary, the president seems to indicate that health care block grants will relieve him of his current requirement to be the personal physician of every single American.
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TRUMP: And we`re going get health care too. We`re going to get health care. We`ll have health care before the election. But we`re going to get health care.
And block granting the money back to the states so the states can take much better care. It`s a smaller form of government. In theory, I want to focus on North Korea. I want to focus on Iran. I want to focus on other things. I don`t want to focus on fixing somebody`s back or their knee or something. Let the states do that.
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HAYES: He doesn`t want to focus on fixing your knee, America. The most jaw-dropping moment from that interview comes when the president explains that he invented a word.
That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: In an interview with Mike Huckabee, President Trump took credit for inventing a brand-new word.
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TRUMP: The media is -- is really the word, I think, one of the greatest of all the terms I`ve come up with is fake. I guess other people have used it perhaps over the years. But I`ve never noticed it.
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HAYES: Really now? Claiming you came up with the word fake.
It`s not the first time the president has said something like that. In a May interview with the economist about tax cuts, he said, "You understand the expression prime the pump? I came up with it a couple days ago and I thought it was good." That led Vanity Fair to declare Donald Trump thinks he has invented a phrase that has been used since 1932.
When Trump was stumping for Senator Luther Strange last month in his primary contest against Roy Moore, the president acted like no one had ever thought about calling the 6`9" Senator, Big Luther Strange.
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TRUMP: I said, that is the tallest human being I`ve ever seen. I`m tall. That`s why I call him Big Luther. That`s why everyone now calling him Big Luther. We call him now Big Luther. Did people call you Big Luther before you met Trump? So nobody ever called you Big Luther? I think it`s a great game.
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HAYES: Now you would think that a guy who has gone through life at 6`9" inches and named Luther may have been called Big Luther a time or two over the years.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Insider deals. Abusing the public trust. Time for a change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big Luther!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time for Big Luther Strange.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to clean up Montgomery, Big Luther. LUTHER STRANGE, JR. SENATOR: Son, you can count on it.
HAYES: By now you may have heard a little bit about Vice President Pence`s big weekend. On Saturday, he flew to Las Vegas to honor the victims of the shooting there. Then he flew 1800 miles east to Indianapolis to take in a football game, and then he headed back to the west coast the following day, flying 2,000 miles to Los Angeles to attend a fundraiser for the Kremlin`s favorite congressman, Dana Rohrabacher.
But despite tweeting how excited he was to see the Colts/49ers game in Indianapolis, and more on that particular photo shortly, Pence didn`t actually stay to watch it, tweeting that he left before kickoff to protest players kneeling during the national anthem. And as we were to be detail, he made a really big deal out of it.
Now, the White House presented his sudden departure as a spur of the moment decision, one good man who wanted to watch the game but couldn`t accept the disrespect he saw out there on the field. But there is hilariously overwhelming evidence that proves otherwise. That evidence, next.
HAYES: Here`s a story that Vice President Mike Pence wanted to tell this weekend. He flew 1,800 miles to Indianapolis with no political agenda. All he wanted was watch his hometown Colts play some football, honor Peyton Manning. When more than 20 members of the 49ers took a knee during the national anthem, well, it was just too much for Mike Pence. He could stand silent no longer, so he left before kickoff.
Pence tweeting, "I left today`s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag or our national anthem."
Okay, so that story, well, it stinks. Not just because Pence completely misrepresented why the players were kneeling. Just 24 minutes after kickoff, Pence tweeted out a fancy graphic explaining his decision. Note the bolding and the social media links. Wow. They had that made up pretty quickly for someone who had just spontaneously decided to leave.
Also, turns out the reporters following Pence had been told to stay in their van because, quote, "there may be an early departure from the game".
A senior official admitted the vice president and the president had discussed an early departure if the 49ers players didn`t stand for the anthem, and Trump himself corroborated it. Tweeting, quote, "I asked @VPPence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country."
The thing is, there was almost no question the 49ers would kneel. They`ve been doing so in nearly every game dating back to when then 49er Colin Kaepernick kicked off the move in 2016.
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ERIC REID, SAN FRANSICO 49ERS: He knew that we were probably going to do it again. And so, this is what to make (inaudible) looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out, and then leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Don`t forget that Vice President Pence flew back and forth from the west coast for his little performance. His travel prompting a pointed question from Democrat, Adam Schiff, "After all the scandals involving unnecessary travel by cabinet secretaries, how much tax payer money was wasted on this stunt?"
Joining now, MSNBC political contributor Jason Johnson, and Dave Zirin, Sports Editor of The Nation.
Dave, what struck me most here was sort of the desperation, the amount of contrivance to yank this back. There`s this feeling when they were having this fight with the football players saying well, the president is talking about football players while Puerto Rico is getting hit by the hurricane. But they`re saying, no, let`s get back to talking about football. We want to talk about football.
DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS WRITER: Yeah, I haven`t seen choreography this bad since Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. Chris, this was Gulf of Tonkin for idiots. The speed with which this unraveled was so amazing and shocking, like seeing it unravel in real-time.
And it has to be said that not only is Mike Pence getting hammered by Democratic politicians or shows like this one, the local Indiana newspapers have hammered him today. Remember, this is Pence`s hometown. And they`ve done so, remember, because this was supposed to be Peyton Manning`s day. The ostensible reason why Pence was there was because there was this great unveiling of a Peyton Manning statute and they feel like Pence overshadowed it with, as one reporter put it, a cheap political stunt.
This is like -- Joe Scarborough said this on your network. He described it as worse than Bridgegate. And I think that`s a very defensible position. Because think about -- like at least with Chris Christie it was about Jersey revenge. Think about the high-minded purpose at work here, it was to chill the first amendment rights of people who want to talk about a subject that this administration will not talk about, which is racism and police brutality in this country. It`s just more division that`s stoked by an administration that all it has left is a dwindling base.
HAYES: You know, it`s also, Jason -- David`s point about this -- it`s also like I saw conservatives react to it, and I thought this was fascinating. You know, there`s this idea, the sort of eye-rolling, right, when like people on the left want to make a protest, take a moment and turn it into a political moment.
And I saw conservatives eye-rolling about the vice president being, like, dude, I`m just trying to watch some football here. Like they felt that way that this was like an incursion of like why are you bringing this up now?
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: Chris, I completely agree. I have been saying this all along. Nobody likes the fact that the president of the United States has turned America`s past-time into a political litmus test. Everybody can watch football whether you support it or don`t support it. And it`s not helped by the fact that, look, Donald Trump does fake racist outrage well. Mike Pence does not. Mike Pence is not sincere, like he`s like a pastor showing up at a strip club saying I can`t believe that there`s stripping here I`m so offended I`m going to leave. Like you knew this was going to happen.
So, the whole thing just came off as really disingenuous. And it doesn`t help him at all.
HAYES: Yeah, and David, I also think there`s something interesting happening with this whole issue which is that they want to talk about it. The president was clearly delighted at himself that he found this issue. And I think -- again, I do think it`s an issue that abstracting away, probably the majority would be on their side, that they`re sort of turning around because Trump is such a uniquely polarizing figure in some ways.
ZIRIN: Yeah, people have to look at the polls on this issue, because the common sense in Trump`s campaign was this idea that this is a winning issue for him, because he gets to demonize black people who are protesting racism, I guess. And yet when you look at the polling numbers, USA Today did polling on this, other places as well, support is actually moving towards the players.
Now, it`s not necessarily moving towards the players on the idea that we need to have a national discussion about police violence, but it`s moving towards the players on the idea that people should have the right to dissent and that this is about first amendment rights and that Trump does not have the right to chill that.
And part of that really is the toxicity of this presidency, but it`s fascinating when you look at the numbers from a year ago, which USA Today did, about does Colin Kaepernick have the right to kneel versus now after Trump spoke and it`s a pretty dramatic shift in the direction of the players.
HAYES: Yeah, and that`s -- that this is the weird sort of reverse Midas touch that this president has on a lot of issues. We`ve seen it, in fact, polling on trust in the media as well. The president is very good at galvanizing his hardcore base. The things, though, that do that tend to be alienating to people who are outside that. And so he can go in and take something like kneeling for the national anthem, which in a general sense people might view skeptically, or the media, which in a general sense people might view skeptically. And Jason, by targeting them, he puts people in a position where they have to choose sides and they are like, well, I guess I`m not on Trump`s side.
JOHNSON: Right, exactly. And most people aren`t. Because one, they either just want to enjoy the game, or two, they don`t think this is sincere. And again, the larger problem here about both Trump and Pence who`s doing his best Trump impression, is that everybody recognizes that their values and anger seem to be focused in the wrong areas. You literally had Neo-Nazis marching again in Charlottesville on Saturday night. They don`t want to talk about that. They want to go to a game and waste $250,000 and then come home. It makes no sense.
HAYES: To the sincerity, you`ve got now Trump fundraising off Pence`s NFL walkout, of course. Then, you`ve got like this is the last little detail about that photo that he tweeted, which was like -- a tweet of like getting ready for this game, boy, it was like taking the sip of water before the spit take, you know, like, oh, well I`m just going to enjoy this game. I guess nothing political is going to happen.
Like it was an old photo that they used from three years ago that people called out immediately.
ZIRIN: It was an old photo that someone also put through some sort of Instagram filter to make it look slightly different. And this was something, once again, The Indianapolis Star was pointing this out an Twitter within minutes that it was an old photo.
So, once again, the speed with which this unraveled was really shocking. And I think for a lot of folks, also, hearing them talk about respect for the flag and respect for the troops, while at the same time this horrific situation in Niger with troops dying and being killed and still no mention of it by the president or the vice president. None. That rings I think true with people in a very sincere way. They won`t talk about this. They won`t talk about the real problems faced by military families.
And I would argue that someone like Michael Bennett of the Seahawks has spoken to more soldiers over the last two months than Donald Trump or Mike Pence.
HAYES: Four U.S. service members, special forces, killed in action in Niger, a country in which apparently we have about 800 U.S. service members service, as part of the global, truly global, war on terror in which we have kinetic activity in a dozen countries or more.
Jason Johnson and Dave Zirin, thank you both for being with me tonight.
JOHNSON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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